Yellowstone visitation down 43% after flooding

NICOLE POLLACK Casper Star-Tribune

Visitation to Yellowstone National Park plummeted last month after historic flooding temporarily forced all five entrances to shutter, officials said Monday.

The park closed to the public on June 13 and partially reopened nine days later, using an alternating license plate system to restrict entry through the end of the month. It welcomed a total of 536,601 visitors in June, a 43% decline from the record 938,845 a year earlier, according to the National Park Service.

“Operationally, it’s busy. But there’s definitely less traffic in the park,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly told the Star-Tribune following a July 8 press conference.

Many of the tens of thousands of tourists scheduled to arrive during the closure canceled their plans, postponed their trips or rearranged their itineraries, heading instead to other attractions, like Grand Teton National Park. Others stuck around in the hopes Yellowstone would reopen before they had to go home. Yellowstone’s south loop and three southern entrances reopened — for visitors with even-numbered license plates or reservations inside the park — on June 22.

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Some managed to wait out the closure. 

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